Help your Teeth by Minding What you Eat

by Cathy Clements, Nutritionist & Life Coach, NASM CNC, CPT, FNS, WFS

I remember when I was told that eating Halloween candy was going to give me cavities; and I had a few when I was younger. But was it just candy that gave me cavities?

It turns out there are other things in our diets adding to the possibility of tooth decay.

Your body was meant to work effectively using good nutrition, but we have moved away from some of our good nutrition and nutrients with our current diets.

It takes some small changes to what you are eating. This isn’t anything new from what I have told you in the past. We know sugar is the worst, and there are places where sugar is hiding in our foods.

Sugar adds to tooth decay and to many other diseases. It will take you reading labels to know how much sugar you are adding to your diet. If you need help with that, I can help you.

Good choices for good teeth and gum health are:

  • Drinking plenty of water — A good guide is half of your body weight in ounces (e.g. you weigh 100 pounds, drink 50 ounces of water).
  • Eating a variety of foods from the major food groups; whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
  • Sticking to low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.

How you eat can additionally affect your oral health. Eating a lot of snacks in between meals and not brushing each time will add to more decay. So, if you eat three meals or five meals, brush each time.

There are items I know I eat each day that are acidic and can add to the decay of the enamel on my teeth — lemon or lime juice and coffee!

It has also been shown there are benefits to these items too. So, to enjoy the benefits, remember to drink water after having these to limit the acidic effect on your teeth and mouth. Other food items that aren’t the healthiest for our teeth and gums are soda, eating ice or other hard foods, sports drinks and alcohol.

The best thing you can do for your teeth and gums is to brush after eating so any damage from these items can be limited.